Featured post

Welcome to Tales of Terror

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Night of the Long Knives

The investigators are invited to a revue of Chinese theatre by Professor Charles Ashbourne, expert on all aspects of China. He tells them that it is a social invitation but hints that there is some point to the meeting.

A treat of Chinese culture is in store. Jugglers, gymnasts, dancers in dazzling costumes and paper dragons. The finale is a lady conjurer assisted by two giant Mongols. After an impressive display of magic and muscle flexing the finale, the classic box-of-swords illusion, starts.

Both assistants are too massive to fit into the box so the conjurer calls for a volunteer from the audience. Much to his delight, Ashbourne is chosen from several enthusiastic volunteers. He steps into the box and the door closes behind him.

The two Mongols spin the box then thrust their swords clean through it. The box is rotated again to show the swords protruding right through the box. Then the conjurer screams and faints.

As the house lights go up blood can be seen running down the blades. The swords are withdrawn and the dead body of Professor Ashbourne tumbles from the box. The curtain drops, none too soon.


1     Ashbourne's death was an unfortunate accident, a trap door that should have opened below him malfunctioned. The theatre's insurance company has made a substantial out of court settlement to Ashbourne's widow.

2     Access to Ashbourne's papers will point towards his investigations into Chinese Tongs in London. In particular he seems fascinated by Dr Cheng, an almost legendary figure wielding absolute power. Ashbourne was getting too close and was eliminated.

3     Ashbourne's wife was having an affair with the son of a peer of the realm. Using his contacts in the Chinese community, they arranged his death. In return they are to pay the Tongs half the insurance money that Mrs Ashbourne stands to receive from both her husband's and the theatre's policies.

© Garrie Hall

No comments:

Post a Comment